Social needier: figures show people in Scotland crave likes on social media

Scotland is a nation of “Like devotees” – chasing recognition in the form of likes, comments and shares of their social media posts, according to a new BT study.

Scotland is a nation of “Like devotees” – chasing recognition in the form of likes, comments and shares of their social media posts, according to a new BT study.

Figures launched to celebrate the new BT Smart Hub reveal the extent to which social media has become “social needier” – with Brits now checking their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts on average seventeen times following a post, to gauge the reaction.

Key findings include:

  • The average person in Scotland has three social media accounts and spends nearly two hours posting and sharing statuses, pictures and videos
  • Anything fewer than 35 reactions, shares or comments of a single post is considered a disappointment – across the UK, men emerge as the needier sex, expecting 40 likes on average to feel happy with a post, compared to 28 likes for women.
  • It takes the average person in Scotland around nine minutes to create and compose the ideal “like worthy” update, with men across the UK taking an average of ten minutes vs eight minutes taken by women.
  • It takes a further ten minutes to take the perfect picture, find the right filter and upload it to social media
  • Around 47% of people in Scotland say if someone didn’t like, share or comment on their post, it might prevent them doing the same on theirs
  • On average men check their posts for recognition every minute for a whole 19 minutes, compared to women who only check once a minute for a quarter of an hour
  • A staggering 68 per cent of people in Scotland say being recognised on social media is “important” and as a result, more than half (52 per cent) admit we are envious of other people who have more success with their posts, tweets and shares

Leading Psychologist Becky Spelman commented on the findings. “Likes” or “shares” on a post seem to provide us with the instant gratification that we crave and it’s interesting to see people collecting online “friends” without stopping to think how many are actually friends! It’s not surprising to see men having more issues with social media dependence than women, as they often have less well-developed social networks and fewer emotional ties in the real world.

"Superficial interactions such as “liking” someone’s post are harmless in themselves, but people need to be careful that when they interact with social media they don’t forget real life relationships with friends and family members. I would recommend limiting friends on social media to people you actually communicate with and know in a meaningful way, rather than just anyone who has ever sent a friend request. Social media channels work for us when we use them as a tool to communicate, not a way to judge our self-worth."

Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “It’s really interesting to find out more about the internet habits of people living in Scotland. We spend increasing amounts of time online and social media is now an integral part of our lives. It has never been easier to get online with more than 2 million households and businesses in Scotland now having access to high-speed fibre broadband – and the number is continuing to increase.”

David McDonald, Director of Broadband and Bundles, BT commented: “We know that 85% of people spend most of their time on social media at home and being continually connected is really important. That’s why we’ve launched the new BT Smart Hub, which provides the UK’s most powerful wi-fi signal vs major broadband providers. With its combination of unique features, you can check your social media as much as you need to, with wi-fi in more places, fewer dropped connections and faster speeds in harder to reach rooms.”

Faced with a scenario of no likes or shares, the overriding emotion (across the UK) is “disappointment” (38 per cent), and, 17 per cent said it makes them feel “friendless”, 16 per cent, “insecure” and a further 14 per cent feel “stupid”. As a result, 45 per cent have deleted something from social media in frustration of not getting enough recognition and men are more likely to do so (49%).

On the flip side, when the desired level of likes is achieved - 44 per cent of us feel “happy”, while 29 per cent feel “recognised”, 27 per cent “popular” and “valued”.


Survey conducted in July 2016 of almost 2,000 Brits aged 18 to 40 by Gingercomms research.